In a surprising turn of events, Hollywood actor Tom Cruise has publicly thrown his support behind the ongoing actors' strike, specifically backing SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists). According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cruise made a surprise appearance via Zoom during a negotiating session between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
Reportedly, the 61-year-old star expressed his concerns about the increasing influence of artificial intelligence (AI) in the TV and film streaming era. Cruise's statement resonated with thousands of actors and entertainers who are striking alongside the Writers Guild of America (WGA), marking the first joint strike in over sixty years.
Cruise's involvement in the Zoom call was a desperate attempt to urge the AMPTP to reconsider their position on AI. As a consequence of the strike, production on Cruise's latest film, “Mission: Impossible,” has come to a halt, along with numerous other highly anticipated projects such as the “Avatar” sequel, “Gladiator 2,” and “Deadpool 3.”
During the virtual meeting, Cruise also addressed the guild's stance on stunt actors. He requested that the AMPTP allow performers to continue with their press tours even after the strike, taking into consideration the fragile state of movie theaters following the impact of the pandemic. Cruise emphasized that promoting films is crucial for actors, as it is for the studios.
The union representing Hollywood's A-list actors, SAG-AFTRA, joined forces with the screenwriters on the picket line after unanimously voting to halt production across the entertainment industry. The strike occurred after the contract expired and talks broke down with the AMPTP, which represents streaming giants like Disney, Netflix, Amazon, and others.
This strike is the first time in over forty years that the 160,000-member-strong SAG-AFTRA has walked off film and TV jobs. Both SAG-AFTRA and the WGA are demanding increased pay and residuals in the streaming era. The joint walkout by actors and screenwriters may potentially result in a shortage of shows and movies in the near future.